Headed to College Next Fall So Maybe I Need a Break This Summer

Contributor, Rick Paine, is a friend and an expert on the college recruiting process. He is also the Director of Swimming at American College Connection. 

So you have signed your NLI and scholarship papers and are headed off to college next fall. What a relief.

Now you are contemplating your summer plans. You are thinking the next four years in college swimming will be a real challenge and a lot of work and dedication so maybe I should take a little break this summer and just train and not compete. That way I will be fresh when school starts.

I will go to 5 or 6 practices a week in order to “maintain” my swimming and maybe I can get a part-time job and make a little extra money and not worry about going to meets. I will get to hang out with my friends one last summer and generally have a lot of fun. I will be fresh and ready for the college season when it starts in five months…..Right?

WRONG!!!!!!

First there is no such thing as “maintaining” is swimming. While you are “maintaining”, the swimmers slower than you are catching up and the swimmers faster than you are pulling away.

Taking the summer off from competition is like saying, “I am going to college next fall so I need to give my brain a rest and not read anything this summer.”

Second you owe it to your club team, club coach, college team, college coach and yourself to work on improving this summer and the only way to do that is to compete. After all, this is what got you to where you are.

I coached at the Division I level at Nebraska for 17 years and I hated to see incoming freshman report for the first day of practice mentally and physically out of shape. You will very quickly find out that college swimming includes a lot of kicking in practice. During the first week of practice I would tell my training group to grab a kick board, we are going 10 x 100’s kick on 1:30, on the top, ready go. Most of the freshmen would have a total look of terror and disbelief on their faces. They would spend the next month kicking a straight thousand until they figured out that things weren’t going to get easier.

Sit down with your club coach (remember them? they are the main reason you have the privilege of swimming in college) and lay out a plan for the summer that includes a shave and taper meet. It is certainly OK to have a couple of weeks out of the pool before you start your college season.

The last thing you want to do is to start your college career by digging a hole for yourself by not being in shape because you took the summer off. Swimming in college will be one of the most exciting times in your life and it only comes around once. Be ready to make the most of it……….and Congratulations!

To find out if the time is right for you to get started with the college recruiting process go to www.ACCrecruits.com and submit a Free Profile Assessment.

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weirdo

GREAT article Mel. nothing worse than when I kid goes to college and then becomes ‘too good’ for their club team and club coach!

SwimSam

Biggest mistake I ever made in swimming was not training well from March of senior year in HS and showing up on campus out of shape. I regret it to this day. Cost me the best swimming opportunity of my life. That was 32 years ago and still ponder that mistake. Nobody’s fault but my own. Remember it like it was yesterday. Train harder and smarter than you ever have in the 6 to 12 months leading up to your freshman year. It will pay huge dividends.

Steve Nolan

I will go to 5 or 6 practices a week in order to “maintain” my swimming and maybe I can get a part-time job and make a little extra money and not worry about going to meets. I will get to hang out with my friends one last summer and generally have a lot of fun. I will be fresh and ready for the college season when it starts in five months…..Right?

Having a job and seeing friends?! LOLNOPE NOT FOR YOU, YOU’RE SWIMMING IN COLLEGE.

It’s the summer, kids should be able to do all of those things. (That includes making, I dunno, a dozen practices a week.)

About Gold Medal Mel Stewart

Gold Medal Mel Stewart

MEL STEWART Jr., aka Gold Medal Mel, won three Olympic medals at the 1992 Olympic Games. Mel's best event was the 200 butterfly. He is a former World, American, and NCAA Record holder in the 200 butterfly. As a writer/producer and sports columnist, Mel has contributed to Yahoo Sports, Universal Sports, …

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